Plays! Plays! Plays!

In celebration of being married FOR TWENTY YEARS, PEOPLE, Jeff and I are on a getaway in our favorite desert oasis, with the express purpose of seeing plays. I am not speaking hyperbole when I say I have yearned for years to go see some Shakespeare and some musical theater, which since we became special-needs parents, has been one of many a pipe dream. Going to shows was for people with normal lives. By definition, that didn’t include us.

I’m an English teacher, a former English major/graduate student, a bibliophile, a Shakespeare junkie, and also a big nerd when it comes to LOVING musicals. So when I said to Jeff earlier in the summer, “For our 20th anniversary, I just want to go to the Shakespearean Festival. That’s it. It’s all I want,” and he responded, “Sounds good to me,” I knew that he was (and is) my perfect match. Not because he loves books, Shakespeare, or musicals like I do, mind you, but because he loves me, and because he is flexible. And now we can do this sort of thing because Jack has full-time care.

Thus far, we’ve seen Newsies, Guys & Dolls, and (because we had extra time today) Dunkirk (not Shakespeare or a musical, obviously). Tonight we see As You Like It, and tomorrow, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have finished reading two books on this trip, too. I feel quite accomplished. I think we may try to squeeze in another movie before we go home, because this diet of live theater + print/film media consumption is totally my jam.

I love stories. I just LOVE them.

Newsies took me back to high school, when Christian Bale was the hot thing singing about seizing the day and Santa Fe. We saw it beneath the stars and I wanted to do a song and dance number about the fact that I was at a live musical and no kids of mine were there to wreck it, huzzah!

Guys & Dolls was some kind of time capsule for an era when men wore fedoras and women were referred to as dolls, etc. We saw a Thursday matinee, which meant it was me, Jeff, and a theater otherwise comprised of retirees. The line of walkers and other assistive mobility devices outside the door to the orchestra section looked like the rows of strollers outside the rides at Disneyland.

Watching Dunkirk this afternoon was, for real, a spiritual experience for me. I was awash with emotion which culminated in this thought thread: Life calls us to do big, scary, deadly things. Our job is to do them. Whatever the outcome. We are here to do what life calls us to do. We may only be small humans with limited abilities and influence, but that doesn’t matter. God knows what we can do, and we can prove our bravery to him. Also, wow, the heroism and humanity and sacrifice amid war. And I inevitably envisioned my teen son being caught up in such fraught scenarios. Those soldiers were kids, and they saw and experienced horrifying things. Again, because we saw a Friday matinee, it was us and the retired folk. They were a respectful crowd. I was a weepy young(ish) thing.

Tonight, it’s Shakespeare, and I’m jazzed. The Bard’s plays are a) pure genius, and b) a workout for my brain, and a feast for my language-loving self.

A few more thoughts on having been married twenty years:

  1. Life actually does move pretty fast. Even when it’s like slogging through molasses or trudging through a snowy/prickly ice field, the overall passage of time is far faster than one might expect.
  2. I’m glad I’m not twenty anymore. My back hurts more now, and my metabolism isn’t what it once was, but I know a lot more now than I did then. In no way would I want to go back. Twenty years later is much, much better. Forty is vastly preferable to twenty.
  3. It’s a gift to be with someone through so much hardship. Jeff and I grew together. We have worked together. We raised Jack together for thirteen years—an incredible feat. I think God gave us each other before he gave us Jack, because he knew we would need this partnership to carry our family through the whirlwind of disabilities parenting.

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